Chapter 23: Broom Flying Classes
Gryffindor and Slytherin were truly destined to be enemies. Within less than a week since the term had started, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy had immediately entered a love to hate relationship. Everyday there would be at least three clashes, and by the end of the week, over 20 occurrences could be noted down. It was no wonder that this ship was such a huge buzz before Charles had time traveled.
Naturally, those who shipped this were dirty. To Charles, the connection between two people should be pure, pure like a lover’s relationship. The proud and delicate snake and the hot-blooded savior, just where was the purity in that?
Charles could already hear the little train in his head going “Filthy! Filthy! Filthy!” as its whistle.
The first year Gryffindors had only shared Potions with the Slytherins, so neither side had been able to fight each other much, much to Charles’ regret. At the very least, until everyone saw the notice pinned to the Gryffindor common room. On it had been written, “Flying lessons would start on Thursday–meaning that the Gryffindors would be learning with the Slytherins.”
In the wizarding world, Quidditch was the equivalent to nascar racing in the muggle world and was observed by many. So when it came for these flying lessons, everyone was excited. In the past two days, all of the first years had heard Draco Malfoy talk plenty about the flying lessons. He had grumbled loudly about the fact that the first years were unable to join the Quidditch team. He had always exaggerated his stories and spoke that would often times end with him escaping the helicopters in the muggle world.
Although, Malfoy was not the only braggart amongst the group. Seamus Finnigan would tell everyone saying that he would spend his childhood flying through the countryside on a broomstick. Ron Weasley would chatter constantly to anyone that would listen that he had once hit a hang glider with Charlie’s old broomstick. Practically anyone from a wizarding family talked about Quidditch at any given moment.
But of course, there were exceptions. Neville had been deathly afraid of the flying class. Ever since young, he had never been on a broomstick since his grandmother had forbidden him from even getting close to one. Everyone had felt that his grandmother had been especially wise. It was common knowledge that Neville was already a walking accident on the ground, just who would be able to let him into the air in good faith?
When it came to flying, Hermione Granger was just as nervous as Neville was. Flying was not something one could learn do by reading from a book–though that didn’t mean she didn’t try to. At breakfast on Thursday, Hermione had tried to lecture everyone on the tips she had learned through the book Quidditch Through the Ages, and subsequently bored them all to death. Neville hung on to every one of her words however, desperate that he could use something to help him hang onto his broomstick. Yet, when the time came for the mail, everyone had been extremely relieved to hear Hermione get interrupted.
Charles’ mail had been as per usual. One letter from his parents, and one from Julie in regards to a discussion on magic. After reading the letters, Charles looked around only to discover that the savior of the wizarding world had not received any letters–much to his dismay. Draco Malfoy had noticed Harry’s situation almost instantly each time, (How loving), and would always grab at the parcel of candy he received from his family. Then, with vigor, he would have them scatter onto the Slytherin table loudly enough for Harry to hear.
Today, a barn owl had brought Neville a small package from his grandmother. Excitedly, Neville tore open the package and showed everyone the glass ball he had obtained with what seemed to be filled with plenty of white smoke.
“Oh, it’s a Remembrall!” Neville explained to everyone with excitement. “Gran knows I always forget things, so she sent me one! If I forget something, then the ball will remind me. Look, you just have to hold it tight, and if it turns red–oh…” Suddenly, the Remembrall began to turn red, causing his face to drop, “You’ve forgotten something!” Trying his best to think, just what was it that he had forgotten? Just at that moment, Draco Malfoy who was passing by the table immediately snatched the ball away from Neville’s hand.
Harry and Ron had both jumped to their feets; they had been hoping for a reason to fight Malfoy at last. But at that moment, professor McGonagall beat them to the point and appeared out of nowhere.
“What is going on?” She asked.
“Malfoy’s got my Remembrall, Professor!” Neville spoke.
With a grimace, Malfoy dropped the ball onto the table.
“Just you wait!” As he threw the ball down and began to walk away, he spoke a single phrase with Crabbe and Goyle trailing from behind.
Right besides Neville, Charles gave a click of a his tongue in disappointment.
At 3:30 in the afternoon, the Gryffindors hurried down the steps to their very first flying lessons. After several staircases and running through the grass, they arrived right by the grounds near the forbidden forest. Today’s weather had been excellent. The weather was crisp and the wind breezy. The grass rippled under their feet as every student trampled across it, giving off an air of comfort. From not too far away, the trees to the forbidden forest were swaying in the wind.
The Slytherins had arrived long before. 20 broomsticks could be seen lying about in a neat line, but they were of second-hand quality. Rumors had it that some of them would vibrate if you flew too high in the air, or that it would always veer to the left.
Their teacher, Madam Hooch, had finally arrived. She had short gray hair with yellow eyes that were as sharp as a hawk.
“Well, what are you all waiting for?” She barked. “Everyone stand by a broomstick, hurry up now! Stick your right hand up over your broom.” Madame Hooch called out from the front. “Then say, ‘Up!’”.
“Up!” Everyone shouted.
Charles’ broom rolled around the ground. Looking at everyone else, he could see most of the Gryffindors having pretty much the same result. Neville’s broom however, didn’t move even a twitch.
“Up. Up…” Charles muttered, but the broom didn’t respond.
It looks like you won’t know what’s good for you if I don’t properly command you! Charles thought. Suddenly, the light in his eyes grew extremely sharp and began to direct all of his magic within his body at the broomstick.
Like an obedient child, the broomstick leapt into Charles’ hand without a word from him. Grabbing onto it, Charles didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when he realized that the broom was quavering in his hands. What an easy thing to bully. Charles thought.
Afterwards, Madam Hooch showed everyone how to mount their brooms without falling off from the tail of it. With that, Madam Hooch had them practice a few times more before going up and down the rows to correct their grips and postures.
“Now, be mindful to my words. When I blow my whistle, you will kick off the ground, hard.” She said. “Hold onto your brooms and try to rise a few feet. Then come back down by leaning forward. On my whistle–three–two–”
But Neville had been far too nervous and frightened of being left alone on the ground. Before Madam Hooch could even blow the whistle, he had already kicked off the ground with a startled cry.
“Come back here, boy!” Madame Hooch shouted. But Neville was already rising far too fast like a cork being shot out from a champagne bottle–12 feet, 20 feet! Charles could see the utter terror in Neville’s face as he flew farther away from the ground. With a gasp, he slipped sideways off the broom and began to fall!
“Wingardium Leviosa, Wingardium Leviosa.” Charles shot both spells towards Neville, and helplessly, he could only shoot a single Cushioning Charm onto the ground. As Neville’s body got to just a single centimeter above the ground, he had suddenly stopped. After a moment, he fell to the ground face first! His broom on the other hand, rose higher and higher before ultimately drifting towards the forbidden forest and out of sight.
Bending over to inspect Neville, Madam Hooch’s face had been just as white as his.
“How frightening. It’s a good thing there’s no broken bones. Alright Mister Goole, your Cushioning Charm was very timely. Five points to Gryffindor.” Madame Hooch spoke. “Come now, boy, it’s all right. Try standing up.” Madame Hooch turned to look at everyone else. “None of you is to move while I take this boy to the hospital wing. If anyone tries to fly, then you’ll be out of Hogwarts before you can say ‘Quidditch’! Understand? Come on, dear, off we go.” Neville had long since been reduced to a crying mess, but thanks to Charles’ timely spell, he hadn’t been injured. With Madam Hooch’s arm around him, the two of them left the fields.
When the two disappeared from sight, Draco Malfoy immediately burst into laughter. “Did you see his face, the great lump? Haha, what an idiot!”
The other Slytherins began to join in on the laughter. But then, no one had expected him to speak to Charles, “I saw you put in the effort just then, don’t tell me you fancy Longbottom!”
“Agh!” Charles held his forehead in his hand. I just wanted to live my life as a handsome-looking man. But this brat, how annoying!”